Pope Francis, who embraces people from all traditions, calls the world forth in this ‘Year of Mercy’ to open our hearts and be moved by the worlds suffering, to reach out and contribute in the reordering within our selves and within the world we have created.
Love alone is capable of uniting living beings
in such a way as to complete
and fulfill them,
for it alone takes them and joins them
by what is deepest in themselves.
T de Chardin
The Judeo-Christian tradition has implemented a year of Jubilee for renewal in many forms over different times in history. If ever there was a time when the disenfranchised were voicing their suffering and calling us to reexamine our path, we are seeing it now in the numerous different groups around the world, all called by the name of ISIS. Violence and rage are a demonstration of extreme suffering taking the hopeless path of destruction to express that pain.
We are one,
after all, you and I,
together we suffer, together exist
will recreate each other.
T de Chardin
How have we created a world of such suffering? How can we contribute to healing and uplifting? All religious traditions agree at the mystical level of consciousness that we are all somehow connected as one, riding together on our one planet through the universe. When we come out of our own private worries and desires to resonate with the whole of humanity, there is a great gift that awaits us, a deep connection with self and all others that fulfills.
Love is a sacred reserve of energy;
it is like the blood of spiritual evolution.
T de Chardin
Jubilee is the ancient biblical tradition of taking the 50th year to reorder anew the world we have created.
“You shall count off seven weeks of years,
seven times seven years… Then you shall hallow
the fiftieth year. It shall be a jubilee for you.
And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and
you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all
its inhabitants; it shall be a jubilee for you”
Lev 25: 8, 10
Sometimes we have created our world intentionally. Sometimes we have created mindlessly. Sometimes we have created reactively. Change is always happening and the opportunity to stop and choose to ‘let the land lie fallow,’ ‘hallow the land’ and ‘declare liberty to the past’ that no longer serves us, then enables us to focus on the future we desire and begin anew, embracing the dignity of all peoples in the opportunity of this ‘Year of Mercy.’
Today, Jubilee is an actively lived tradition in monastic life as part of the growth possible in the spiritual quest. At the 50th year following entrance to a religious community, the Jubilee Year is embraced by its members to examine and renew their path.
Dr. Charlotte Tomaino and 85 other women entered the Maryknoll Missionaries in 1965. Now, at their 50th anniversary year, 40 of these women joined together from April 2014 to April 2015, participating in a Jubilee Year of Monthly Reflections and Sharing, ending with a pilgrimage back to their beginning at the Maryknoll Center to embrace T.S. Eliot’s words:
“The end of our explorations
will be to arrive where we started and
know the place for the first time.”
This transformational process enables its participants to release the past with dignity and have the freedom to embrace the world from the maturity of having gathered the wisdom the years have offered. These same reflections will be offered to you here, each month, for you to engage in your personal inquiry and reflection on the Year of Mercy, finding your place as the world moves through this Jubilee Year together.
By Pope Francis declaring a Year of Mercy, he is inviting the whole world to action:
“I have decided to announce
an Extraordinary Jubilee
which has at its center
the mercy of God.
It will be a Holy Year of Mercy.
We want to live in the light
of the word of the Lord:
“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful”
(cf. Lk 6:36).
Grace, which will move us forward together, is not found in the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘oughts,’ but in silence, caring and compassion which produces the action you take from deep within you and does not deplete your energy but rather renews you. This is where we unite and all are fulfilled. When you give from your heart and soul the fulfillment returns to you.
Spirituality is the deepest and most enduring
dimension of the self,
a type of human consciousness
where the heart and soul are the guide
and source of fulfillment.
The Year of Mercy begins within you. It is found in silence, reflection and attention to that core of compassion and loving kindness that always awaits in your own heart. When we act from the deep spiritual center of being, where grace guides our actions and fulfills us with each step taken, the mutual growth of ‘contemplation in action’ fulfills each and all.
“By our fidelity we must build – starting with the most natural territory
of our own self …
We make our own soul
throughout all our earthly days;
T. de Chardin
Your own inner world, center point of love and inexhaustible river of compassion, is the source from which all external works of true mercy are generated and flow out from you to others. The women of Maryknoll have all committed their lives to the charism of ‘contemplation in action’, which then sustains them. When you also choose this focus, grace will move you forward. This fruitful action blesses both those contributing and those receiving because it is gratitude that unites and fulfills.
True freedom and fulfillment “means
being conscious and aware enough
to choose what you pay attention to
and to choose how you
David Foster Wallace
Choice of a focus on heart and soul united enables expansion beyond anything the mind and reactivity can accomplish. When dignity of all beings is observed and the desire to contribute to the reduction of suffering rises up from within you, there is a soul connection surpassing differences of economics, race, gender, religion, education or social class — this is where we all agree on what is important, no matter what language we speak.
The Year of Mercy is a call for soul expansion, a call for heart and soul to move together, where loving kindness is touching each and all and guiding your action. The physical contributions to the poor, the sick, the rejected, the imprisoned, the hungry, the cold, the lonely, the homeless, the fearful, the anxious must be given from the heart and soul for the grace of gratitude to return to you, be embraced by you and rejuvenate you in the process.
“We make our own soul
throughout all our earthly days;
and at the same time
we collaborate in another work,
in another opus,
which infinitely transcends
the perspectives of our individual achievement;
the completion of the world .”
T. de Chardin
You are invited to join in this transformative movement of grace in our world by first choosing the focus of listening to yourself and feeling for your own inner spiritual garden which can be planted, nurtured and grow, with your spiritual practice, enriching you. It is from the abundance of that garden within you that you have much to give and receive.
There is a momentous and truly epic energy moving through our world today. We see millions of immigrants traveling this very day to a land of promise they cannot see, but believe in their heart and soul, they can find.
That land of promise also awaits within you as well,
if you choose to focus on your heart and soul,
believe its riches await you
and are willing to travel there.
Come join in the Jubilee Journey
sweeping around our planet.
The Jubilee reflections can be sent to you
by requesting them on this website.
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